National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

May 10, 2008 Severe Weather Outbreak
Picher Tornado


The most significant tornado occurred across Craig and Ottawa Counties in Northeast Oklahoma. This EF-4 Tornado caused extensive damage in the town of Picher, Oklahoma and resulted in 6 fatalities.

The tornado touched down 2.5 miles southwest of Chetopa, KS near the Oklahoma/Kansas state line. The tornado continued eastward inot the southern portion of Picher, OK where extensive and widespread damage occurred to numerous residental structures.

Based on the structural damage in this area, the tornado is rated an EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with winds estimated at 165 to 175 mph.

The tornado continued southeast across the northern edge of the city of Quapaw, then crossed interstate 44 near mile marker 325. The tornado then moved into southwest Missouri, 3 miles northeast of Peoria, OK.

The tornado track length in Northeast Oklahoma was approximately 29 miles, with a maximum width of one mile. Click on the map below for a larger image of the track based on the National Weather Service damage survey of this area. The purple letters correspond to the aerial images below, and images from the ground survey are also available below.

A brief tornado occurred in parallel with the Picher tornado in Ottawa County. The tornado developed 4.75 miles east of Quapaw and merged with the then weakening Picher tornado 2.1 miles north of Peoria. The resultant tornadic circulation rapidly expanded in width to near one mile as it moved into Missouri. This tornado had a path length of 2 miles, was 200 yards wide, and was rated EF1.


May 10, 2008 Craig/Ottawa County (Picher) Tornado
Picher, OK tornado path map
Click on Letter below to See Aerial Photo of Damage at That Location
Gis Data Links
googleEarth Tornado Path (kml)
shapeFiles for path and points (zip)


Aerial Images
Ground Images


Radar Images
Picher tornado radar reflectivity
Above: Radar reflectivity image from the KINX WSR-88D radar at 5:38pm showing the supercell moving along the Oklahoma/Kansas state line. The hook echo is circled.
Picher radar velocity
Above: Radar storm-relative velocity image from the KINX WSR-88D radar at 5:38pm showing the rotation signature associated with the tornado as it was moving into Picher. The green and blue colors represent air moving towards the radar and the red and pink colors show where air is moving away from the radar.


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